ITB 2018

Caribbean rides out the storms

Islands have reopened for business after damaging hurricanes affected the tourist trade last year.

March 09, 2018
Caribbean destinations such as the Dominican Republic are investing in hotels and tourism infrastructure.
Photo: fvw

Hurricanes may have blown Caribbean tourism off course in 2017, but the region still welcomed 30.1 million visitors as arrivals rose for the eighth consecutive year. Now the Caribbean Tourism Organization is getting the message out that the region remains open for business.

UK & Europe marketing director Carol Hay stressed that many islands are unaffected, while those which were damaged are recovering. “It is a challenge that so many people do not realise how big the Caribbean is and this makes it important for us to continually explain its geography and location,” she said.

The CTO is upping trade activity for 2018, with more fam trips for travel agency staff to experience the region first-hand. Hay is confident of more growth this year, adding: “Air lift is increasing and we are attracting investment for developments. There’s a lot happening in the Caribbean.”

One example is the Dominican Republic, where 15,000 new rooms are being added to the existing stock of 80,000. The country continues to be the top choice for German holidaymakers in the Caribbean, attracting 265,000 last year, 2.4 per cent more than in 2016.

But it’s a different story for Cuba, where the German market has plateaued at just over 240,000. The island was badly affected by Hurricane Irma, but the damage has been repaired and many hotels upgraded.

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